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ANNECY 2024

Review: Diplodocus

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- The first Polish film in 3D, directed by Wojtek Wawszczyk, transports us to the fantastical world of a little dinosaur who takes on the unknown in order to find his parents

Review: Diplodocus

Presented in a world premiere within the Annecy International Animation Film Festival’s Annecy Presents section, the first Polish animated film in 3D, Diplodocus, directed by Wojtek Wawszczyk, is based on Tadeusz Baranowski’s legendary comic book from the Eighties, yet it manages to carve out its own identity. The film’s spectacular colours, absurd humour and bizarre characters all have their roots in the comic book, but Diplodocus sets itself apart through its lucid and courageous reflection on the importance of keeping the child inside of each of us alive and valued. The undisputed protagonist of this movie, little Diplodocus, teaches us to think outside of the box and urges us to face the world with courage, without fear of proudly imposing our differences.

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Little Diplodocus dreams of venturing outside of his home, in search of adventures he has only imagined until now. Unfortunately, his mega-protective parents don’t let him explore the frightening yet thrilling, fantastic world outside. Despite his curious nature, what Diplo doesn’t yet know if that he and the other characters around him are actually part of a comic book created by Ted, a somewhat unhinged artist who dreams of hitting the big time. A hybrid animation blending CGI and live-action, Diplodocus also showcases the passion Wojtek Wawszczyk has felt ever since he was a child for the mysterious and marvellous universe of Tadeusz Baranowski, a source of inspiration to whom the director looks to pay tribute with this moving and adventurous movie which teaches us to believe in our dreams.

Not overly interested in a faithful adaptation of the comic book, Wawszczyk looks to explore his own truth through Diplo’s adventures. The figure of the creator-artist is perfectly embodied by Ted, a delightfully ambiguous character who is forced to sell his soul for a kind of success which feels increasingly chimera-like. Obliged by his revenue-obsessed editor to abandon the projects closest to his heart and to even rub out his own drawings (the height of tragedy for a comic book artist!) in favour of significantly more consensual and mainstream creations, Ted doesn’t realise the damage he is causing. Rubbing out his own drawings effectively means destroying the world of little Diplo who is having to contend with countless obstacles in order to find his parents. Ted will have to fight against his own idiosyncrasies, dialoguing with the child he thought he’d lost forever.

Even though the ultra-cute world imposed by his editor seems to win out, Ted ultimately realises that his atypical vision of the world is incredibly important and a source of riches he can’t afford to lose. Our endearing and funny Diplo is flanked by an awkward wizard, a pair of big-hearted, crazy scientists and a medley of lively, delectable, highly convincing and hard-to-forget characters. Diplodocus is a brave, adventurous and hugely ambitious film which makes us cry, dream, reflect and fantasise.

Diplodocus is produced by Human Film (Poland) in co-production with PFX (Czech Republic), TVP (Poland) and Dayhey (Slovakia), and is sold worldwide by Gebeka International.

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(Translated from Italian)

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